Sunderland wins £500,000 to fund Roker Pier restoration

Historic Roker Pier

Historic Roker Pier

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A REVAMP of Roker Pier to its former glory will reach its final phase after it scooped more than £500,000 in lotto cash.

Sunderland City Council has scooped the cash from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to complete the restoration project.

underland City Council Cabinet Secretary Cllr Mel Speding (right), culture lead Cllr John Kelly (centre) and chairman of Sunderland Seafront Trade Asc Tom Parkin (left)

underland City Council Cabinet Secretary Cllr Mel Speding (right), culture lead Cllr John Kelly (centre) and chairman of Sunderland Seafront Trade Asc Tom Parkin (left)

The £545,000, which will be supplemented by £136,000 of match funding from the council, will help pay for the restoration of the lighthouse and tunnel, paving the way for both to be opened to the public.

A further £300,000 has also been allocated by the authority to restore and replace the railings along the pier to complete its restoration.

Plans to invest £1.35million in a programme of restoration for the 112-year-old Grade II listed Roker Pier were first announced in February 2013.

Work to restore the lantern house at the top of the lighthouse was completed in November 2013, and the entire length of the pier was resurfaced for the first time in its history last summer.

It will enable us to complete the work we started a couple of years ago to restore the pier to its former glory for the enjoyment of future generations.

Councillor Mel Speding, the council’s cabinet secretary

Today’s award follows an earlier development grant of £53,200 to develop plans.

Cabinet Secretary, Councillor Mel Speding, said: “Roker Pier is one of Sunderland’s best-loved landmarks but there’s no doubt that more than a century of winter storms and buffeting waves have taken their toll on the pier, placing it at risk.

“So we’re delighted to have secured this funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
“It will enable us to complete the work we started a couple of years ago to restore the pier to its former glory for the enjoyment of future generations.

“We also want to open up the lighthouse and tunnel for public tours, giving more people the chance to visit them and experience the sense of history you find there, so we’re looking at paid tours led by the newly-formed volunteer group, Roker Heritage Group.

Roker Pier, pictured in November while resurfacing work was being carried out.

Roker Pier, pictured in November while resurfacing work was being carried out.

“They’re really enthusiastic about the project and it’s great to have local people with such a keen interest on board with these plans.”

Ivor Crowther, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund North East, said: “Roker Pier is an impressive example of Victorian engineering and played a crucial role in the creation of the wider Sunderland Dock, shaping the area as we know it today.

“Our investment means that Sunderland City Council can begin work in earnest to not only restore and enhance the historic fabric of the pier, lighthouse and underground tunnels, but also put it right back at the heart of the community, providing much-needed opportunities for social and economic regeneration.”

The council has submitted a planning application seeking permission for the work.

If approved, it will include new internal fittings to the lighthouse, pointing of the building and cleaning of the granite.